Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Secret Garden

Every spring for years now, I take time to re-read the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic, "The Secret Garden".

Although her other well-known book, "A Little Princess," is my favorite, there's definitely a wonderful rainy-day air about "The Secret Garden" that makes it perfect for reading in March. Winds whistling across the moors, a lonely girl exploring a large house full of antiques and mysteries, and a walled garden waiting to be lovingly tended by small hands...

My favorite part of the book is the chapter where she finally finds the key and unlocks the gate to the hidden garden:

"The sun was shining inside the four walls and the high arch of blue sky over this particular piece of Misselthwaite seemed even more brilliant and soft than it was over the moor. The robin flew down from his tree-top and hopped about or flew after her from one bush to another. He chirped a good deal and had a very busy air, as if he were showing her things. Everything was strange and silent and she seemed to be hundreds of miles away from any one, but somehow she did not feel lonely at all. All that troubled her was her wish that she knew whether all the roses were dead, or if perhaps some of them had lived and might put out leaves and buds as the weather got warmer. She did not want it to be a quite dead garden. If it were a quite alive garden, how wonderful it would be, and what thousands of roses would grow on every side!

Someday when I have a young child, I'd like to set aside a portion of the yard for a secret garden they can keep all their own. If we're still living in the house I own currently, there's a few tucked-away areas we could wall off with an attractive small fence (giving the child the illusion of privacy). Or there are a few flowerbeds that could be dedicated to a child's garden.

If you enjoy gardening and have space in your yard, why not consider letting your child have a space to make all their own. It wouldn't take much: they would need a spade small enough for their little hands, a small watering can light enough for them to carry, and tiny gardening gloves. But they don't need kneeling pads, gardening hats (Use any old hat or cap), fancy boots (their other boots will do just fine), or expensive potting chairs. (Resist the temptation to run down to Target or Pottery Barn Kids and buy all the adorable children's gardening supplies.) Just let them have a few colorful packets of seeds, a few starter plants, some potting soil, and a bit of your attention and help at first.


- If you're traveling early this summer, it's time to make reservations for flights, hotels, rental houses, rental cards, etc.

- Empty trash cans throughout your home

- Have everything ready for Easter, if you celebrate it? Eggs, dying supplies, candy, special outfits for your children? Camera batteries charged? Ready to take pictures?

- Give the kitchen a quick freshen-up. Empty or load dishwasher, change out dishtowels, wipe down counters, scrub sink, mop floor. This should take less than 15 minutes.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Spring Cleaning: Cupboards

Pick a cupboard, dresser, cabinet, curio cabinet, or your entire linen closet (if you have time), and thoroughly sort it. Remove everything, wipe down the shelves and front of the cupboard/cabinet, then replace everything in an organized manner. Throw out anything you can bear to part with, things you aren't using, or anything looking old and stained. Add anything you need to your shopping list for the week.

The Vera Wang "Pink Duchesse" teapot I got as a wedding present. Love it!

This afternoon I'll be sorting my Teapot cabinet, washing all the cups and teapots that have gotten dusty, and taking inventory of my tea and hot chocolate supplies.

I sorted this cabinet pretty well last year during Spring Cleaning, so I think I'll be able to tackle another cupboard as well - the one that holds all the small white appetizer cups, white serving pieces and plates I use for dinner parties.


I just find this Winestein very amusing. From Z Gallerie, it might be a fun way to gently tease a friend who appreciates beer but is new to wine tasting.


What to Do With Leftover Easter Eggs (CHOW)

1 comment :


I, too, love the book Secret Garden. I often give it as a birthday present to friends that never got to read it as a child. My favorite copy is illustrated by Tasha Tudor.